Thomas Getman is president of a private consulting group that specializes in international, United Nations and Non Governmental Organization affairs and university seminars and workshops on UN Reform and humanitarian interagency partnership building. He was World Vision’s executive director for international relations with tenure until March 1, 2009. In this role, he managed World Vision’s liaison activities with the UN and the World Council of Churches and was responsible for diplomatic relations with UN government member missions in Geneva and with countries on sensitive tax, staff and protocol negotiations.
He served until 2009 on the board of principals for the UN Deputy Secretary General for Emergency Relief in the UN Office of the Coordinator of Humanitarian Affairs (OCHA) and as chair of a premier NGO consortium the International Council of Voluntary Agencies (ICVA).
From 1997 to 2001, Getman was director of World Vision’s programs in Jerusalem, the West Bank and the Gaza Strip where he was responsible for a staff of 30 and $5-8 million a year in relief and development projects in Palestine, Israel, Jordan, and advocacy for peace with justice.
Previously, Getman served for 12 years as director of government relations and special assistant to the president of World Vision United States at which time he founded WV’s office in DC. Getman interpreted U.S. government policy, pressed for needed foreign assistance, and advanced human rights, relief and development concerns with Congress and the White House.
For 7 years between 1976 to 1985, Getman served as a Congressional legislative director for Senator Mark Hatfield his primary assignments were African foreign policy and social justice, human rights and welfare issues. His most notable legislative contribution was to participate in the drafting team for the Anti-Apartheid Act of 1985 (Law of ’86) after participating in the legal sanctions against Rhodesia and Uganda. Getman helped negotiate protocols with the presidents of Uganda and Zambia and encouraged warring African factions in their peace negotiations. In the mid-1980s, Getman played a central role to persuade the South African Foreign Ministry to cease support for the Mozambican rebel group Resistencia National Mocambicana (Renamo). He also was an adjunct speechwriter for other regional and national political figures, including President Gerald R. Ford.
Getman served 1963 to 1976 as Young Life area director in Philadelphia and regional director in New England, where he established field education programs for university and seminary MA youth ministry programs. Notably his team participated in the training and encouraging of city government and education officials in the desegregation of Boston schools.
Getman holds a bachelor’s degree from Wheaton College (Illinois) and a master’s in theology (equivalency certificate) from Fuller Theological Seminary. He serves on a number of boards including Global Priorities, Sojourners, and Refugees International. Formerly he was a board member of the Ramallah (Palestine) Friends School, The YMCA (West Jerusalem) and Bread for the World. He was based in Geneva, Switzerland, with his wife Karen from October 2001 to March 1, 2009. The Getmans are presently resident in Washington, DC where they are active in St. Mark’s Episcopal Church-Washington Diocese, and social justice advocacy with Members of Congress.